Daddy Yankee gets the world dancing again with viral song

The Puerto Rican king of reggaeton who co-wrote “Despacito” has people around the world moving their hips with his latest song, “Dura.” (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 18 February 2018

Daddy Yankee gets the world dancing again with viral song

MIAMI: It’s another viral dancing sensation. And once again, it’s from Daddy Yankee.
The Puerto Rican king of reggaeton who co-wrote “Despacito” has people around the world moving their hips with his latest song, “Dura.”
Millions of people have clicked on online videos inspired by “Dura” as aspiring dancers around the world — from fresh-faced children to top models to endearing elderly people — find their groove, with varying degrees of skill or stiffness.
“I’m beyond honored and feel very blessed. You make music for an audience,” Daddy Yankee told AFP. “And the audience has made this song in their own organic, spontaneous way.”
Daddy Yankee helped bring reggaeton — a Latin dance music, with roots in Jamaican dancehall and the style of hip-hop, that was historically associated with the marginalized Afro-Puerto Rican community — to a global audience starting with his 2004 hit “Gasolina.”
But “Dura” marks a fresh turn in the 41-year-old singer and rapper’s career as the song has taken off based largely on how fans appropriate it.
“Why have so many people — even babies — liked it?” he asked rhetorically. “Well, some things you can’t explain. It’s the magic of music, a magic that just happens and that you can’t understand.”
He has one theory. “Dura,” he said, harks back to “the rhythm and nostalgia for music of the late 1980s and early 1990s, that essence of reggae that inspired reggaeton.”
Daddy Yankee, whose real name is Ramon Luis Ayala, released “Dura” on January 18. The next day, Colombian model Andrea Valdiri posted a video on Instagram, barefoot in sweatpants and a loose white top, as she danced to “Dura” with her hands rubbing sensually around her body.
The video has been viewed nearly nine million times on her Instagram account and in Daddy Yankee’s repost. It also set off a rush of new homemade interpretations of the song — posted under hashtag #DuraChallenge.

Daddy Yankee’s original video has been seen nearly 200 million times on YouTube.
More recently, the 25-year-old Valdiri has been eclipsed as the #DuraChallenge star by a nonagenarian.
Rachel Phillipsen, a 90-year-old New Yorker of Puerto Rican origin, follows a zumba instructor with impressive rhythm and coordination as Daddy Yankee sings in Spanish, “I like how you move that ram-pam-pam.” The video has generated 5.5 million clicks.
“There are no excuses not to dance. The excuse is all in your mind,” the zumba instructor, Rina Elena Martinez (@rina_25), told AFP. The Venezuelan appears in the video shot in a gym in Miami.
Daddy Yankee agreed. “The 90-year-old grandmother was phenomenal,” he said, adding: “No doubt that video gives encouragement to the whole world.”
Celebrities who have taken the #DuraChallenge include Venezuelan model Diosa Canales, Dominican reggaeton singer Natti Natasha and the Puerto Rican former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, who also appeared in the “Despacito” video.
“Dura,” which literally means “hard” but could also mean “hot” when it comes to appearance, is an ode to a beautiful woman.
“You’re one tough mama,” Daddy Yankee sings, with lines such as “If it’s a crime to be so beautiful / I’ll arrest you in my bed and put you in handcuffs.”
Musically, the song returns to early reggaeton without the pop melodies that mega-stars such as Shakira, Enrique Iglesias or “Despacito” co-writer Luis Fonsi deployed to bring the genre to the anglo pop world.
In a retro video, Daddy Yankee and his cohorts dance around well-trodden streets covered with vibrant street art. Women, who so often take passive roles in highly sexual songs, assume the lead in showing their moves.
“We were inspired by the bright colors of the ‘90s and a bit of the era’s fashion. I wanted to make this fun and to show that the song could empower women,” Daddy Yankee said.
The video was directed by Carlos Perez, the Puerto Rican who shot “Despacito” and has worked with Ricky Martin and Marc Anthony.
“Despacito” also spawned spoofs and has made history as the most-watched video on YouTube with more than 4.8 billion views.
Helped by a remix featuring Justin Bieber, “Despacito” tied a record by spending 16 weeks on top of the benchmark Billboard singles chart in the United States — a major feat in a country where non-English songs rarely fare well.
“Dura” as of Friday was number 10 on Spotify’s global singles chart and number one in several Latin American countries.


Bodies of man and his slave unearthed from ashes at Pompeii

The casts of what are believed to have been a rich man and his male slave fleeing the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago, are seen in what was an elegant villa on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii destroyed by the eruption in 79 A.D., where they were discovered during recents excavations, Pompeii archaeological park officials said Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP)
Updated 22 November 2020

Bodies of man and his slave unearthed from ashes at Pompeii

  • Pompeii officials said the men apparently escaped the initial fall of ash from Mount Vesuvius then succumbed to a powerful volcanic blast that took place the next morning

ROME: Skeletal remains of what are believed to have been a rich man and his male slave attempting to escape death from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago have been discovered in Pompeii, officials at the archaeological park in Italy said Saturday.
Parts of the skulls and bones of the two men were found during excavation of the ruins from what was once an elegant villa with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea on the outskirts of the ancient Roman city destroyed by the volcano eruption in 79 A.D. It’s the same area where a stable with the remains of three harnessed horses were excavated in 2017.
Pompeii officials said the men apparently escaped the initial fall of ash from Mount Vesuvius then succumbed to a powerful volcanic blast that took place the next morning. The later blast “apparently invaded the area from many points, surrounding and burying the victims in ash,” Pompeii officials said in a statement.
The remains of the two victims, lying next to each other on their backs, were found in a layer of gray ash at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) deep, they said.
As has been done when other remains have been discovered at the Pompeii site, archaeologists poured liquid chalk into the cavities, or void, left by the decaying bodies in the ash and pumice that rained down from the volcano near modern-day Naples and demolished the upper levels of the villa.
The technique, pioneered in the 1800s, gives the image not only of the shape and position of the victims in the throes of death, but makes the remains “seem like statues,” said Massimo Osanna, an archaeologist who is director general of the archaeological park operated under the jurisdiction of the Italian Culture Ministry.
Judging by cranial bones and teeth, one of the men was young, likely aged 18 to 25, with a spinal column with compressed discs. That finding led archaeologists to hypothesize that he was a young man who did manual labor, like that of a slave.
The other man had a robust bone structure, especially in his chest area, and died with his hands on his chest and his legs bent and spread apart. He was estimated to have been 30- to 40-years-old, Pompeii officials said. Fragments of white paint were found near the man’s face, probably remnants of a collapsed upper wall, the officials said.
Both skeletons were found in a side room along an underground corridor, or passageway, known in ancient Roman times as a cryptoporticus, which led to to the upper level of the villa.
“The victims were probably looking for shelter in the cryptoporticus, in this underground space, where they thought they were better protected,” said Osanna.
Instead, on the morning of Oct. 25, 79 A.D., a “blazing cloud (of volcanic material) arrived in Pompeii and...killed anyone it encountered on its way,” Osanna said.
Based on the impression of fabric folds left in the ash layer, it appeared the younger man was wearing a short, pleated tunic, possibly of wool. The older victim, in addition to wearing a tunic, appeared to have had a mantle over his left shoulder.
Mount Vesuvius remans an active volcano. While excavations continue at the site near Naples, tourists are currently barred from the archaeological park under national anti-COVID-19 measures.